Cave paintings are one of the earliest forms of art we know of. They date back at least 35,000 years and can be found all around the world. They usually show hunting scenes, hand prints or abstract patterns.
Archaeologists aren't sure why they were painted but they seem to be more than just decoration. Some people think they were used to communicate with other people who might find them while others think they had a ceremonial purpose.
Adult supervision is required.
Ages : Suitable for all ages.
Time Required: ~3 hours to build cave, 2 hours to paint
To make the cave wall:
Make up the papier mache glue and leave to stand. Tear the newspaper into fairly large pieces.
Join pieces of chicken wire together using cable ties and bamboo canes as supports and curve it to make a wall. If you are feeling ambitious, you could also try adding a roof.
Paint the pieces of newspaper with the papier mache glue and add to the chicken wire. Cover the cave wall inside and outside and add at least one more layer.
You may need to use bamboo canes as temporary struts when building as the weight of the paper can cause the cave to fall.
Cover the wall with brown paper to improve the colour and texture. Leave to dry for at least 3 days.
To make the paintings:
Get some soil/clay/chalk/charcoal and use a stone to grind it onto another flat stone to create a powder.
Mix your powder with some PVA glue. In prehistoric times, people would have used natural binders such as fat. PVA glue is easier and more hygenic!
Using this, paint your cave with pictures of mammoths, hunting scenes etc. Look at some pictures of original cave paintings for ideas.
If you are feeling adventurous, you could also experiment with flicking or blowing paint over hands. This kind of cave painting has been found all around the world and dates back at least 40,000 years.
- Chicken wire
- Papier mache
- PVA glue
- Brown paper
- Bamboo canes
- Cable ties
- Different coloured soils, clay, chalk, charcoal for pigments
- Flat stones/stones for rubbing
- Pictures of cave paintings